New Research into building bone health challenges conventional beliefs!
Osteoporosis, or brittle bone disease is a silent condition that frequently goes undetected until a bone is damaged.
In depth research have pointed out that although Western countries eat the most dairy products, the greatest rates of osteoporosis also occur in Western nations. This poses a provocative query: is a larger intake of dairy food actually the solution?
When it comes to building bone health, the nutrient that obviously springs to mind is calcium – an abundant mineral that is certainly crucial in safeguarding bone. Nevertheless, preventing and reversing osteoporosis may include much more than simply taking a calcium supplement or ingesting dairy foods.
There is a basic nutritional issue that might provide fantastic benefits and rival typical dietary advice, and that is the acid-alkaline balance of the body. Some bone experts now argue that osteoporosis is clearly linked to an acid-forming diet – and the typical Western diet is very high in acid-forming foods such as meat, sugar and white flour products.
The Acid-Alkaline Issue
In more recent times overseas researchers have proposed that low-acid eating is the most important method in building bone vitality. This thinking is primarily based on the fact that industrially-advanced nations (including Australia) that eat the most milk and dairy products tend to have the highest fracture rates, while Asian and African countries experience 50-70% lower rates of fracture regardless of consuming little or no milk and next to no calcium supplementation.
It would seem that the way we eat, our lifestyle choices and stress levels, lead considerably to bone depletion no matter how many calcium supplements we take or how many glasses of milk we drink.
Strange as it appears to be, good bone health begins in the bloodstream – for the body to function successfully the blood maintains an acid:alkaline balance or a slightly alkaline pH.
As the body digests high protein foods, amino acids flood the bloodstream and must be neutralised to avoid life-threatening problems, including osteoporosis. To do this the body draws from its very own reservoir of alkaline material, such as calcium compounds stored in bone. Calcium released into the bloodstream buffers excess acidity and is excreted via the urine. However the greater protein we consume, the more acidic the blood becomes and so the more calcium is leached from bone in an attempt to swing the pH back into optimal balance. Low-acid consumption may well therefore be the cornerstone to building healthier bones and decreasing osteoporosis risk.
In addition to improving bone health, low-acid eating may perhaps also decrease your probabilities of developing heart disease, cancer, dementia and other chronic health issues. It’s a safe, effective, low-cost prescription for health, vitality and longevity.
Reducing Your Risk
While some risk factors, like being thin, or genetic predisposition, are not able to be totally controlled, most individuals hold the power to minimise the impact of lifestyle habits. According to Osteoporosis Australia, the top five components that put you at greatest risk include: smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, low dietary calcium intake, a non-active lifestyle and a lack of exposure to sunlight.
While dairy contains calcium, it is also very acidic. Ironically, a high-dairy diet may, along with other dietary and lifestyle factors, deplete more calcium than it provides.
Other elements that can harm your bones include: malabsorption of crucial minerals due to poor digestion; bone-weakening prescription medications such as corticosteriods, hormonal imbalances, taking diuretics such as tea, coffee, soft drinks, energy drinks and alcohol (regularly consuming cola drinks is strongly linked with adverse effects on bone density because they include phosphoric acid which leaches calcium from bone. This ingredient is added to cola drinks to provide a tangy, or refreshing taste.
Another probable cause is an underactive thyroid because it impairs the body’s ability to produce calcitonin, a hormone that protects against calcium loss.
While osteoporosis is typically thought of as an more mature person’s disease, it can strike at any age. The typical symptoms can include:
- Greater susceptibility to fractures
- Cramping at night in the lower extremities
- Noticeable bone pain and tenderness, which include ribs, neck and lower back
- Loss of height or curving of the spine
- Brittle fingernails
- Gum disease and tooth decay
There is no doubt that declining bone density is a relatively usual consequence of ageing, and combating bone loss is a continual problem after the transition into menopause. Women typically achieve peak bone mass between the ages of 25-30 and are susceptible to significant bone loss after having reached their maximum bone density, because the oestrogenic and progesterone hormones play a dual role in maintaining bone density.
Magnesium is critical for building bone framework and is involved in calcium absorption and synthesis of vit.D. It is a mineral that is part of chlorophyl, the green pigment in plants, so green leafy vegetables are a rich source as are almonds unrefined grains and legumes.
Vitamin D acts as the ‘gatekeeper’ that facilitates calcium absorption in the digestive tract. Most of this vitamin is created during a chemical reaction with sunlight exposure on the skin. Vegetarians confined to the indoors require a supplement. A blood test can check your levels.
Vitamin K is necessary for production of osteocalcin, a protein that attracts calcium to bone. This vitamin is also found in green, leafy vegetables and certain oils.
Manganese found in pecans, brown rice, green leafy veges, green tea and pineapple, is vital for building bone matrix to reinforce bone strength and helps activate superoxide dismutase (SOD)an important antioxidant enzyme.
3 Steps to low-acid consumption
- One serve of protein from meat, poultry or fish is about the size of a deck of cards and really should only take up about one quarter of your dinner plate, the other 3/4 being for vegetables.
- Bear in mind that it takes 3 serves of fruit & veges to neutralise the acid in one serving of protein, and 2 serves of fruit & vegetables will neutralise one serving of grain.
If you consume the recommended five serves of fruit & veges daily, you can safely eat a single serve of protein but it is still wise to plan at least one day each week without animal protein if you are not vegetarian. The richest plant sources contain legumes, nuts, seeds and soy products.